Suriname in Good Position to Address Emerging Timber Legality Requirements

Suriname in Good Position to Address Emerging Timber Legality Requirements

Suriname - 10 December, 2013

To maintain access to markets in Europe and the USA the timber sector of Suriname needs to verify the legality of its forest products. Participants of the regional seminar ‘Emerging legality requirements in the timber sector of Suriname’ (28-29 November 2013 in Paramaribo) found that the forest sector of Suriname is in a good position to adequately address these legality requirements, because of Suriname’s commitment to sustainable forest management and because it has a good forest control system.

Illegal logging has a devastating impact on forests throughout the world and on the people who live in and depend on these forests, as well as on governments concerned who lose tax revenues. To combat illegal logging and associated trade, several initiatives have emerged that put market requirements on the legality verification of timber products, particularly the `EU’s Forest Law Enforcement, Governance and Trade (FLEGT) Action Plan and the US Lacey Act. The FLEGT Action Plan supports countries in producing legally verified timber through Voluntary Partnership Agreements (VPAs) and bans illegal timber from the EU market through the EU Timber Regulation, which came into force in March 2013. The Lacey Act of the USA, in effect since May 2008, also prohibits the trade in timber which is illegal according to the laws of the country from which it is sourced.

The timber export trade of Suriname is affected by these emerging legality requirements. In order to maintain long term access to and benefits from international markets, actors in the Surinamese timber trade need to build their knowledge and capacity to meet these high international standards. The seminar offered the Surinamese stakeholders the opportunity to exchange and discuss information, ideas and experiences with experts from Europe, Guyana, Ghana, Belize and Jamaica. Larger companies in the country have already certified their production to maintain access to international markets, but the timber sector also expressed its interest in starting discussions on legal timber trade with the EU, in order to secure this access for the whole sector.

This seminar was organised by Tropenbos International together with the EU FAO FLEGT Programme, The Forestry Training Centre Inc. and theIDLGroup, with financial support from the European Union and the Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs.